Oct 5, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) along the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field. Louisville defeated Temple 30-7. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The first pick of the 2014 NFL draft already seems like a lock. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the worst team by far in the league and have the look of a team ready to duplicate the 2008 Detroit Lions who went 0-16. If that’s the case, their biggest need is obviously quarterback and there is none better than Teddy Bridgewater. So the question becomes do they pick him, or auction him off to the highest bidder?
New York Giants among Bridgewater admirers for 2014 NFL Draft
The fact of the matter is that the Jacksonville Jaguars are a very bad team. They’re not a good team with a bad quarterback. Drafting Teddy Bridgewater seems like the obvious choice, but how long could it be before the team is able to put a proper group of weapons and linemen around him? That depends on the front office and the coaches. Head coach Gus Bradley said he can’t think about making a move on a quarterback until the overall talent level of his team is improved. It’s an honest and true assessment, but also makes the 2014 NFL draft strategy for the Jags a complete mystery. Taking Bridgewater could give them a potential franchise quarterback for the next ten to fifteen years. However, that is not a guarantee. Another thing they can’t ignore is what other teams might pay in order to gain the rights to draft him. The Washington Redskins gave up three first and one second round pick to draft Robert Griffin III. Bridgewater is right at that same level of talent and maturity Already teams are speculating about trade possibilities, including the New York Giants. This same team with a clear cut franchise quarterback in Eli Manning has trouble seeing the possibility of passing on Bridgewater. Such is how much he’s impressed scouts so far. Jacksonville needs a quarterback, but 2014 could be a year where they might gain more from passing on one early.
Tajh Boyd and Brett Hundley flaunt depth of coming class
In a normal draft there is no way the Jaguars could do that, but the coming college class may afford them that opportunity. Quarterback appears to be one of the biggest strengths for the 2014 group, from star power down to depth. Outside of Bridgewater there is Clemson senior Tajh Boyd who is very similar save for his slight limitations in height at 6’1″. He is mobile, tough, accurate and can throw the ball anywhere on the field. However the true strength of the class could lay with the underclassmen. Currently there are three sophomore quarterbacks who stand out among the top ten in the nation. The most widely known is Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel, a cocky dual threat who has piled up numbers in bunches despite playing in the powerful SEC. Brett Hundley helped turn UCLA into a viable contender with his own brand of passing and running ability, not to mention a clutch factor recently exhibited in a major comeback against Nebraska. Finally there’s Marcus Mariota. The Oregon star is somewhat overlooked given the system he plays in, but his tall frame, strong arm, mobility and ridiculous stat line makes it hard for scouts not to take him seriously. If one or all of those three choose to declare early, the 2014 NFL draft is instantly enhanced. Most importantly for the Jacksonville Jaguars it increases their chances of landing a truly talented quarterback.
Hearing out trade offers for Teddy Bridgewater sounds like a suicidal idea, but the Jags have to consider the possibilities. Passing on him doesn’t mean they can’t get a good quarterback, and the potential treasure trove of picks they could get in return might set them up for serious contention not far down the road.